News

Former Welland resident supports hometown

By Michelle Allenberg, Tribune Staff

From left, Shawn Fitzgerald, manager of medical imaging for Niagara Health’s Welland and Port Colborne sites, Terri Melna and Ed Melna tour the Welland Hospital Friday afternoon. Michelle Allenberg/Tribune Staff

From left, Shawn Fitzgerald, manager of medical imaging for Niagara Health’s Welland and Port Colborne sites, Terri Melna and Ed Melna tour the Welland Hospital Friday afternoon. Michelle Allenberg/Tribune Staff

As former Welland resident Ed Melna toured Welland hospital’s radiology unit Friday, he teared up when talking about the importance of giving back to the community.

 

Melna, along with his wife Terri, donated $100,000 through Niagara Health System’s OneFoundation to support the community which is still close to Ed’s heart.

The funds went toward upgrading to digital X-Ray technology in the radiology department of the hospital.

Melna, president and owner of Sirius Benefit Plans in Winnipeg, still has ties to Welland, and the couple visit the city as often as they can, connecting with family and friends.

One of those friends is Shawn Fitzgerald, manager of medical imaging for the NHS’s Welland and Port Colborne sites.

Melna said about three years ago Fitzgerald had mentioned the need for new equipment at the Niagara Health sites. After some discussion the couple decided it was an important cause to support.

“If you can help people, why not? It means a lot to be from here and I’m proud it was my home,” he said of Welland.

Since upgrading the system from computed to digital imaging, x-ray technologists can assist more patients in a more timely manner.

Fitzgerald said his staff are much happier now there is new equipment. He said it takes a matter of seconds for the x-ray to appear on the technician’s computer, rather than waiting several minutes to process an image.

“Staff were concerned about working on aged equipment ... but now we don’t have the lineups we used to have,” Fitzgerald said about the improvement.

The upgrades were done in late spring of 2017.

Roger Ali, CEO of OneFoundation, said the large donation made a big impact.

The foundation has a goal to raise $2.2 million for equipment upgrades and purchases.

Ali said so far the foundation has raised about half the amount, and added people can donate up until the end of the foundation’s fiscal year, May 2018.

Donations can be made by contacting Ali at roger.ali@niagarahealth.on.ca.

All hospital equipment is funded through donations. Ali said the government does not fund equipment.

MAllenberg@postmedia.com

Twitter: @M_Allenberg